Jianhui selects his raw material
It is fitting that a crocheted Möbius strip should take a designer full circle, back to his roots.
Jianhui grew up in the impoverished countryside of China, where he would as a child find solace in the beauty and diversity of nature. With no resources to attend school, Jianhui spent his time in the mountains amongst the flowers, studying their color. Eventually, his father opened a shop in the village and Jianhui was able to attend school, but each morning he would return to the mountains and clip a flower to his pen, to remind himself of what remained close to his heart.
Today, Jianhui creates jewelry in London and his work is celebrated above all for its vibrancy. Driven by an ambition "ethical by design and sustainable by nature," one of his offerings is the Next Pashmina – a line of freeform as well as crocheted neck pieces created from lightweight, insulating recycled wood.
Jianhui sources this wood from the rejections of furniture factories in China and has recently begun to buy the scraps of people's demolished homes. This wood is machine cut before being hand-assembled, primarily by women with little access to education in the region – an echo of Jianhui's personal history in rural China and an opportunity to inject hope into a struggling society. Finally, the hand-assembled Next Pashminas are dyed using tints with low environmental impact in a computer-controlled process, so as to minimize long-term human exposure to chemicals.
The result is a collection of clever, multipurpose neckwear connected with Jianhui's childhood home in two ways – inspired by the memory of its natural beauty and involved in relieving the economic and environmental duress that exist there.
In 2013, Jianhui's neckwear are on Made in Town winter inventory list.
Made in Yonkers. Geoff completed his masters at Institut Français de la Mode following a degree in Modern Culture and Media from Brown University. After spending time with Made in Town in Paris, he worked in fine dining and artisanal cheese-making in Marfa, Texas. He currently lives in Shanghai.
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